First Person : I don’t want to die in the body of a man.


A transgender woman in Haiti has said she does not want to die in a man’s body, and hopes to leave her native country to fulfill her dream of transitioning from being a man to a woman. Semi Alisha Fermond works with transgender people at Kay Trans Ayiti (the Creole name for Trans House Haiti) and is an activist with the UNDP and UNAIDS-supported organization Community Action for the Integration of Vulnerable Haitians (ACIFVH). “We work specifically with transgender people. We try to integrate them into society, because they usually get thrown out of their homes because of their identity or when they declare their sexual orientation to their parents. We are very exposed to HIV. So, I think we need to address the problem at the grassroots level, starting with educating parents to help their children live out their identities and not kick them out, because when there are fewer children on the streets, there is less HIV. And fewer transgender people will be forced into sex work for a living. It is important to note that in Haiti, when you are transgender, it is difficult to find a decent job to survive. Either you become a sex worker or you try to create an income generating activity, which is not easy. Kay Trans Ayiti is a space where transgender people can come to seek assistance to deal with life’s problems. We provide shelter, food and psychological support to help them overcome the painful and difficult experiences they have endured in the past.”

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